Pros and Cons of Mainstream Schooling

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Pros and Cons of Mainstream Schooling

Mainstream schools are meant to be a place that all children up to age 21 can learn. Students enrolled in these schools have varying levels of success. For some students, school is a place to get away from home, consistently have a meal, absorb anything and everything they can, or just make friends and become socialized, while for others it is uncomfortable, unhelpful, isolating, or a place that exposes them to negative influences. There are pros and cons to mainstream schools from teaching methods, to social aspects, to health and safety.

Teaching methods in schools can make or break a student’s academic experience. Many schools now are drifting away from lecture with notes to more individualized approaches which can be incredibly beneficial to students in classes with small numbers. Individualized approaches become a problem, however, when classes have large numbers and the teacher cannot get to everyone, or if a teacher has bias towards certain students and offers them more or less help than others. Of course, there are still many schools that use a lecture and notes style, which is a problem of its own for many students. Many students are not taught how to take notes and because of this struggle to keep up. Other students simply learn better by doing. Teaching methods are important to each student’s success, but it is still unclear how best to go about it.

Schools are a social hub for students of all ages, which affects their learning in both positive and negative ways. Students that form strong friendships become more well adjusted, as long as their friends are good influences. Some students may fall in with the wrong crowds. Peer pressure from these crowds can lead students to drop out, try drugs, and commit petty crimes. Students also may have a hard time making friends and become social outcasts for reasons of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, attraction, and other differences. Most students will have a good experience, but it is important to keep improving on rules against bullying.

Schools must be a healthy and safe place for students to learn, but it can be more or less so depending on the student and the school. Some schools crack down on bullying, but can end up sheltering kids, while other schools do nothing about it and students become depressed. In some schools students are even picked on by teachers which directly affects their learning, self worth, and ability to make friends among peers. Some students rely on school lunches as their only source of food, or as a way to get away from a bad home life. Other students are humiliated in the lunch room when they come to the register and their family can’t afford the lunch or have it just as bad at school as at home. Some schools also cannot provide a healthy environment with clean water, such as in Flint, Michigan. Many schools are physically healthy and safe, but all schools should be able to say that.

The way schools are currently set up is the way they have been set up for centuries. School systems are currently designed to produce a certain type of worker for positions that no longer exist due to advancements in society and technology. They highlight subject areas that have become obsolete while ignoring areas that are important for the youth to learn, such as basic anatomy and sex education.

Mainstream schools have their good points and bad points, with most relying on the particular school, student, and teacher, but some are universal across the US. All in all, mainstream schooling is what most children and adults go through and most turn into functioning members of society. However, there is always room for improvement.

Read next: The Unconventional College Life
Ace Magnolia
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